Upland Brewing Company

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Sour - Flanders Oud Bruin
Ranked #33
Ranked #9,078
4.04 | pDev: 11.39%
Upland Brewing Company
Indiana, United States
Very Good
Notes: Darken is a take on an “old ale” or Flanders Brown Ale. We added spices to the mix to create a pleasurable and more heavily nuanced flavor profile. Aged for long time periods, always in oak, creates a harmonious brown sour ale.
Reviews: 20 | Ratings: 68 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Tsar_Riga
Tsar_Riga from Indiana

4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Mostly opaque, dark reddish black body, a head of short mid-tan with a quick fade like a cola. The head disappears and leaves nothing. No lacing.

S - Strong note of acidity, pungent with just a slight hit of sourness.

T - Follows the nose, but more textured and bright, moderate cherry notes, sharp finish.

M - Prickly open, moderate carbonation and sharp acidity, and a quick slow fade.

O - A solid rendition of this style, tasty and well-built.

May 02, 2020
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grover37 from District of Columbia

2.5/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

At home with Lisa. March 2020. Bottle is a couple years old.

Nail polish nose. This is horrendous. Taste is slightly better but overly tart (shocker). Drain pour.

Mar 14, 2020
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puck1225 from Texas

4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very enjoyable, drinkable beer!

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass. Very dark brown color with a creamy white head and good lacing. Funky, slightly smokey smell and taste. Very nice combination of spiciness. Very complimentary with food. Nice representation of the style.

Nov 08, 2019
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BlunderfulGuy from Nebraska

4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown, finger of tan head of fine to medium sized bubbles. Decent lacing and legs.

Lots of toasty malts and oak with threads of lemony-sour mash or sourdough bread, earthy spices (ginger, pepper-crusted bread, allspice, chicory), and faint cocoa.
Follows the nose nicely. More clean and toasty Munich malt flavors followed by a soft wave of oak and spices. Threads of sourness throughout, less so after it warms which lets the toasty aspects shine while still keeping its edge and complexity. Very long-lasting toasty, roasty aftertaste with more hints of spice and sourness. A pop of almost chocolaty blackberry comes and goes, some rooibos and chicory tea here and there as well.
Pretty dry with enough fizz to make it feel a little bit lighter than the dark grains and oak would without it. Not too much acidity to make you pucker or the inside of your cheeks to prickle, which I like for this style.

Very good. Until it warmed up, it was somewhat lackluster, but once it did it very quickly grew on me. Very much a darker Munich malt-driven Oud Bruin for the base beer, dark French style rather than a Flanders red-brown. It has just enough of a twist from the chocolate malt, rye, and spices to make it interesting and complex and just subtle enough not to steal the show.

Feb 25, 2019
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MaximalC from Illinois

3.74/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep chestnut color with a meager cap of khaki suds. Sweet and sour aroma evokes toffee and vinegar dressed in a subtle melange of spices. Habituation reveals a distinct note of horseblanket as well.

The taste is definitely complex. The spice character comes through stronger than anything else—the grains of paradise and rye first and foremost. Bready, toasted malt, soy sauce, and caramel juxtapose balsamic vinegar and mild, lactic acid betwixt the spices. Alcohol is dazzlingly well-concealed for its weight and could be downright hazardous if sufficient quantities are on hand. Warming reveals notes of coriander and even currants. Fine carbonation and medium-light body produce a smooth mouthfeel that grows in substance from front to back.

Overall, this is a balanced and complex sour ale that takes things a step farther than your traditional oud bruin. It has a few rough edges on account of the ambitious recipe, but it mostly comes off as a very engaging and enjoyable Belgian-style brew.

Dec 28, 2018
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bluejacket74 from Ohio

4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

500 ml bottle, Batch R-17, bottled June 2017. Served in a MadTree Teku, the beer pours a dark brown color with about an inch tan head that stuck around for a while. There's also a lot of lacing. The brew smells like cherries, ginger, peppery spice, coriander, grainy malt and chocolate. I think the taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also some anise, oak, dark bread, dark berries and earthy flavors noticeable too. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's slick and a bit creamy with a moderate amount of carbonation. It's also smooth and easy to drink. Sure doesn't seem like it's 9% ABV, the alcohol is well hidden here. I thought this was a pretty good sour brown ale, wish I would have bought more!

Dec 19, 2018
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beergoot from Colorado

3.61/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nearly opaque brown body; rich, dense, creamy head. Sour aroma; some notes of roasted grain (very faint); some earthy spiciness. Big sour flavor; phenolic notes; perhaps a hint of cinnamon. Medium body; rather weak and effervescent; tart, sour dryness.

An okay beer. Sourness and vinegar-like qualities abound yet there is little I can detect of brown ale or barrel-aging qualities.

May 20, 2018
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Gdobber from Washington

4.37/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

500 ml in a hotel room with a hotel glass.
look: dark brown with a lightness around the edges. thin light brown head. dissipated quickly but left a nice lace.
smell: sour and citrusy, some fruitiness. bubblegum? plums, anise root beer.
taste: upfront sour, gives to chocolate, plums, pit fruit, get a bit of the oak barrel.
Feel: bubbly and light but the finish is a smooth silky feel.
Overall: a nice sour for winter, not quite for a hot texas hotel room. Would drink again.

May 16, 2018
Photo of SHODriver
SHODriver from North Carolina

4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a tulip to a deep brown topped by a dense and long lasting finger and a half of light tan head which leaves excellent lacing as it fades.
S: Smells of sour cherries and vanilla with some hints of spice and chocolate
T: Taste is sour cherries, spices, vanilla, and oak. The finish on this one is lingering sourness, vanilla, oak, and spice.
M: This beer has a medium feel on the palate with effervescent carbonation which is prickly at times while the beer has a drying finish from the acidity.
O: Overall this is a really interesting beer. The flavors and complexity make this one a satisfying drink and each sip seems to bring something new. The nose was better than the taste on this beer but it's still very nice.

Apr 06, 2018
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AyatollahGold from Indiana

5/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was my first Flanders oud bruin and I absolutely loved it. Poured from a 16.9 oz. bottle into a tulip glass this yields a dark brew with some highlights around the edges. Perfect one finger width of creamy light tan colored crown. The taste brings notes of sugar, chocolate and clean oak from the barrel with a balanced amount of acidity to go with it perfectly.

Feb 10, 2018
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superspak from Ohio

4.06/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled in 7/2017. Pours crystal clear dark reddish brown color with a 2 finger dense and rocky khaki head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Thick soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of tart lemon, lime, red/green apple, raisin, plum, fig, cherry, berry, red grape, hay, straw, grass, toasted oak, caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, and biscuit; with light notes of nuttiness, oaken vanilla, chocolate, peppercorn, coriander, ginger, anise, leathery/musty funk, red wine vinegar, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of fruity/funky/light acidic yeast, dark/beady malt, oak, and light spice notes; with solid strength. Taste of tart lemon, lime, red/green apple, raisin, plum, fig, cherry, berry, red grape, hay, straw, grass, toasted oak, caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, and biscuit; with light notes of nuttiness, oaken vanilla, chocolate, peppercorn, coriander, ginger, anise, leathery/musty funk, red wine vinegar, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness. Mild lactic tartness and yeast/oak tannin spiciness on the finish. Lingering notes of tart lemon, lime, red/green apple, raisin, plum, fig, cherry, berry, red grape, hay, straw, grass, toasted oak, caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, biscuit, nuttiness, vanilla, chocolate, peppercorn, light funk/vinegar, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/funky/light acidic yeast, dark/beady malt, oak, and light spice flavors; with a great malt/tart/spiciness balance, and zero puckering/astringent flavors after the finish. Lightly increasing dryness from tartness and yeast/oak spiciness. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, moderately creamy/bready/grainy, fairly acidic, and lightly tannic balanced mouthfeel that is fantastic. Zero warming alcohol for 9.1%. Overall this is an excellent Flanders oud bruin style! All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/funky/light acidic yeast, dark/beady malt, oak, and light spice flavors; very smooth and easy to drink with the mellowly acidic/tannic/drying finish. Perfectly balanced fruity Brett complexity and dark/bready malts; nice oak presence and mild complementing spices in the background. Not overly lactic with pleasant acidity. A really enjoyable offering, and spot on style example.

Dec 16, 2017
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Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

4.24/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle shared by Dave. Thanks man.

Dark brown body with a quarter inch of soapy beige collar. Aromas of oak, brown sugar, mint, funk. Similar flavor with a nice blend of sweet and sour. Tasty!

Dec 14, 2017
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a lot of times upland beers are so sour that i cant do more than a couple of sips before the acid does me in, so it was nice to encounter one of their sour beers that i actually want to drink a whole glass of. this is a neat take on a sour brown, more layered in the grain base than most of them, and with less of the vinegar type sourness than i am used to from the flanders type, still quite bacterial and sharp, but its more appealing to me, with a citrus note to it. tons of oak here, toffee and bready maltiness, and light berry, maple, fig, and cherry, highly autumnal, woody forever, and slick feeling. the alcohol is real well hidden too, maybe covered up by the acid, but i didnt find this boozy at all and was surprised to learn its as strong as it is. i like all the dried fruit layers in here with the grain, and the oddly clean finish for what it is. nice complexity and refinement, this is better than almost everything i have had from these guys so far, and is unique stylistically. cool to find one of their beers on tap too!

Nov 09, 2017
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.09/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This one pours a slightly murky dark brown, with a small head, and not much lacing.

This smells like caramel, dark fruit, figs, cinnamon, oak, and moderate tartness.

This is a really unique and tasty beer. There's a killer oak profile to this. The spices meld really well this oak flavor. There's a very light tartness, almost like balsamic, with some cherry and lots of dark fruit.

This is medium bodied, with a slightly creamy mouthfeel, and a good level of carbonation.

I don't always love dark sours, but this is a really great version.

Oct 31, 2017
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pat61 from Minnesota

4.7/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

L: black deep dark brown under a 1" very finely beaded tan cap with fair retention

S: smells like a bowl of figs and dates sprinkled with expensive balsamic vinegar and a shake of black pepper and anise

T: Johnathan apple level tart, Dried fruit, berries, balsamic, black pepper, anise, slight ginger heat, low chocolate.

F: medium light body, high carbonation.

O; Complex, big full flavored beer.

Aug 12, 2017
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krome from Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The base seems t be a very good dusky Oud Bruin woth moderate tartness. The spices make for a very unique flavor overlay (the spices made me think of the mix that goes into some of the more interesting Winter Warmers).

Apr 26, 2017
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schlimenhaumer from New York

3.03/5  rDev -25%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

On tap at One Mile House. 8oz pour served in a wine glass. This is billed as a "spiced sour ale" per the menu

A: pours a very dark opaque purple with a small brownish head that dissipates quickly and leaves sparse lacing

S: brown sugar, candied plum, cherry, spice. Sourness really doesn't come through on the nose

T: sugar and prune notes up front followed by a fairly intense sourness, with a peppery spice character on the finish. While I enjoy these flavors individually, they clash in this beer

M: medium-bodied with plenty of carbonation and a dry finish thanks to the sourness

O: this is my first "spiced sour ale" and the clash of flavors make it no surprise that this it's not a widely brewed style. A nice attempt what it is, but not for me


Apr 16, 2017
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Sabtos from Ohio

3.89/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

While it might as well be black, it's actually a very, very dark purple and blue, with a bubbly off-white collar.

Smell is red apple, apple butter, sour grape, and some light roast.

Taste is a little spiced apple, sour brown Flanders notes, with oak, and some acetic vinegar stinging the tongue.

Full-bodied and very dry.

Mar 19, 2017
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bnes09 from Illinois

3.74/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Super dark for the style. Minimal head. Dark berry and light balsamic aroma. Aggressive and pungent vinegar flavor. Some black currants and mild burnt malt. Gets better as it warms. Balsamic flavor dissipates slightly. Medium body and dry finish from the acidity.

Oct 11, 2016
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Stevedore from Oregon

4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle. Served in a snifter glass.

Pours a medium dark brown body, one finger offwhite head, good retention, bits of lacing. Smells of rich plum and fig, dark fruit, brown sugar, moderate lactic acidity, even a bit of milk chocolate. Flavour is a moderate lactic acidity, bit of hoppy citrus, dark fruit, milk chocolate, molasses. Not too funky, but that's standard Upland. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, somewhat mouthpuckering lactic acidity on the backend. Solid, nothing too crazy, but has plenty of depth and acidity.

Sep 04, 2016
Darken from Upland Brewing Company
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 68 ratings